Empire of the Emerald Throne
By Michael Chumbler
“Once again, the forces of the Crown have thrown back a strong probing force by the Oenotrians. Commanded by Major General Clarke, the Tommies of the Second Highland Cavalry Brigade assigned to Number Two Column, outflanked and routed several warbands believed to be members of the 33rd Oenotrian Legion.” Kaanalpaani closed the week old tattered Syrtis Star newspaper and waited for the flood of questions from the half-a-dozen men sitting with him at the Thirsty Roogie.
“Are the red men truly as powerful as their papers say they are?” Asked Tooraan the youngest of the men at the table. Kaanalpaani answered after a slight pause to collect his thoughts. “The British are very strong and their weapons are far superior to those of the Oenotrians. However, if they were faced against the forces of Mar’s true empire, the papers of these red men would be reporting victories all right, Tossian victories.”
The men at the table smiled slyly among themselves, they knew that Kaanalpaani was just warming up. The men listened raptly as despite their friend’s scholastic airs, they knew Kaanalpaani was the only person in the marketplace that could answer their questions. They just sat back and let him speak.
“Emperor Krahaanik IV is the 40th ruler to earn the right to ascend to the Emerald throne. Earn you ask? Isn’t the title inherited like the rest of the many princes of the Martian city-states? The answer is both yes and no. It was back in the days before the line of Seldon failed, when the founder of the empire, wily old Duke Makchavaani…”
The Tossian Empire has its roots in the Dukedom of Tossia and originally comprised Tossia, Deucalionis, Pyrrhae, Aram, and Hyoraotes. In the days of the Seldons, it was very common for groups of city-states to be under the control of relatives and especially trusted generals. Most of these dukedoms broke apart in the petty squabbling that gave rise to the current city-states that dot the landscape of Mars today.
Makchavaani was possessed with an utterly ruthless obsession for the survival of his realm. The throne of the Tossian Empire is thus, both hereditary and earned. The duke realized that dark times were coming for Mars when Seldon’s line failed. He had studied the many heirs Seldon and knew that relying on the natural born qualities of the eldest son would not guaranty that the best or most qualified man would rule. He set forth an exhausting series of trials to test the mettle of those who would follow him to the Emerald Throne.
The rules that governed the ascension to the throne came to known as the Gauntlet. From early childhood each male heir is tested on scholastic, political and martial topics. A birthday for a possible heir of Makchavaani is a privilege not a right. The weak or faint hearted were simply not allowed to survive if they were unfit.
Once reaching maturity at 14 Martian years (18 Earth years), the eldest surviving son was the declared heir. Upon the death of the Emperor, the declared heir took the throne. However, before the heir would be truly proclaimed emperor he had to produce three of his own heirs. In order to ensure this all-important requirement, all the children of the royal concubines were fully recognized as legitimate heirs. This law eliminated the need to replace an infertile empress. If the Emperor could not produce three male heirs in three years, he was stripped of his title and replaced by the next most qualified son.
A council of three elders strictly governs the rites of the ascension. The Imperial Guardians protect the elders and the possible heirs. A battalion sized unit stationed within the Heir’s wing of the palace and consist of the very best soldiers in the empire (treat as all elites that never check morale and armed with French Lebel bolt-action rifles).
The Imperial guard answers only to the elders. The guard and the elder’s sacred duty is insuring that the best man becomes emperor. For 40 generations the Gauntlet has produced cunning, intelligent, and completely ruthless leaders. Notice brutality is not mentioned. Any tendency toward brutality is mercilessly purged during the tests. A savvy ruler must be ruthless, but brutality is not to be tolerated. It is this restriction against using the masses as cannon fodder that wins the emperor the undying love of his subjects.
Seeing the chaos that the collapse of the empire of Seldon was causing to Mars, the then dukes of the still completely intact Dukedom declared themselves an empire and began to expand. At the core of this expansion was the Emerald Guard. Formed by Makchavaani, the Emerald Guard consisted of companies from every city in the realm. Centrally trained and lavishly equipped, these elite soldiers led the conquests of the cities closest to the empire. Soon, Noachis, Tobaansoor, Protei, Pandora, Erythria, and finally Thymiamata fell to the ever-increasing power of the mighty Tossian Empire.
As each city fell, the entire ruling body of the city was slaughtered wholesale and replaced by the victorious general that led the siege. The general had orders on the pain of death to treat the conquered populace with dignity and as much kindness as they earned. Cooperation brought additional food and employment as the empire made improvements to its new province. However, the laws of Makchavaani did not make for patsies. Any insurrection was put down with mind-numbing violence. After a few stunning demonstrations of what happened to those inclined to rebel against the empire, in comparison to the undeniable improvement cooperation brought in. Each of the conquered cities soon agreed that being part of the empire was better than anything some foolhardy and hopeless rebellion could bring. Finally, to show the captured cities that they were considered full members of the empire, as soon as each city proved it’s loyalty; it was given the honor of providing companies to the growing numbers of the Emerald Guard.
The prosperity of the empire branched out to improve the lives of the citizens of the captured cities. The empire provides education for all and extensive canal maintenance from the canal priests that serve as the chief religion of the empire. Most citizens are free to worship as they please to include any religions existing prior to the arrival of the empire with two notable exceptions. The Worm Cult and the Ground Cleansers are hunted down where ever they try to spread their message of chaos and destruction.
It’s not for any great love of the red man that drives the empire to exterminate any vestiges of the Worm Cult whenever it is detected. It is rather a love for order that is anathema to the vile Worm Cultists that is at the heart of the imperial death mark. Behind closed doors the Ground Cleansers have a slightly better standing in the empire, however, they too are under imperial death mark.
The arrival of the Americans and the establishment of the trading enclave in Thymiamata, gave the Tossian Empire access to earth-goods that most Martian princes could only dream about. Much of the empire’s taxes in last few years have gone to equipping the Emerald Guard and the Imperial Navy. The Emperor has upgraded the weaponry of the local garrisons as well, thus adding to the staggering might of the empire.
The Emerald Guard comprises two brigades of four regiments with eight battalions for a total of 32 companies. The five original cities provide four companies each, while the six acquired cities each provide two companies. The overall quality of the Guard is Excellent (3 Elite, 19 Veteran, and 10 Experienced. The Elite companies are armed with Lebel bolt- action rifles. The Veteran and Experienced companies are equipped with breech loading rifles. The guard has 2 Elite flights of cavalry armed with bolt-action carbines. Finally, the guard artillery consists of 2 elite 15 pounder batteries and 2 Veteran 12 pounders).
To represent the stability and prosperity of the core cities of the empire, use the following modifiers to the Martian city generation sequence: Part 3 Corruption –1, Part 6 Army Quality +1(No less than fair), Part 9 Fleet Quality +1, Part 10A Fleet Size +1.
The weapons pipeline provided by the Americans gives the Tossian armies access to human weapons for their superior troops. Thus, all Elite soldiers are armed with breech loading rifles and one quarter of Veterans are armed with lever action rifles (cavalry has carbine versions of the above). Artillery batteries are armed with one battery of 12 pounders in addition to the standard Martian weapons.
One quarter of the Tossian fleet boasts up-rated weapons in the form of old smoothbore cannon or Civil War rifled cannon* in the following numbers and configurations:
5 Hullcutters have their wing mounted heavy guns replaced with 4.2 Inch rifled cannon and the rogues replaced by a single 6.4 Inch rifled cannon.
2 Whisperdeaths have their wing mounted heavy guns replaced with 4.2 Inch rifled cannon. A forward mounted 8 Inch rifled cannon replaces the forward rod and both aft heavies are replaced by an aft mounted 4.2 Inch.
2 Skyfires and 2 Skylords are armed as per page 84 of TRMGS #1.
5 Hullcutters have their lob guns replaced with an 11-Inch smoothbore on a pivot mount that can fire into either broadside.
4 Endtimes have their lob guns replaced as above.
The empire easily stands alone in terms of power and wealth. The closest thing to a threat is the troublesome policies of the Belgians. If not for the fact that the city of Nectar stands between the two powers, the Belgians would have found, that while the small-disjointed armies of the Coprates city-stated were easy prey; they would be the ones in chains if they faced the fury of the Tossian Empire. However, the proud prince of Nectar, long beset by Belgian forces pursuing escaping slaves and gun smugglers, has at last, entered an agreement with the empire that has seen the deployment of Tossian heavy cavalry to the Nectari border.
Tensions on the border are extremely high. Emperor Krahaanik has already shifted a large portion of his forces to his western frontier to back up the heavy cavalry flights already on duty in Nectar. Most empire watchers say it’s only a matter of time before Prince Sitaani of Nectar requests further assistance or one of the cavalry flights becomes engaged with a Belgian force and full-scale war erupts.
“So we haven’t fallen so far that we are helpless before the might of the red man?” Young Tooraan asked with growing pride as Kaanalpaani paused for a sip of spiced wine. Kaanalpaani finished his cup of wine and smiled. “No my inquisitive young friend. We have not. Just because the Oenotrian can’t best the British it does not mean we are helpless before the red man. You mark my words, all of you, the day will come when these upstart red men will meet the true power on Mars and on that day the very stars will tremble at the sight.”
The group of listeners dropped coins into Kaanalpaani’s cup before leaving. He collected his tips and smiled. “I may spin tales for a living, but I hope I do live to see that day. It will be the grandest tale of several millennia.” He caught the bartender’s attention, ordered another spiced wine and waited for the evening crowd.
*Civil War Rifled Cannon by Terry Sofian appear in TRMGS Volume two. The weapons mentioned are repeated here:
Weapon Weight Range Pen Crew DV ROF Cost
4.2 Inch 40 3/6 1/1 3 1 1 600
6.4 Inch 60 4/8 3/1 4 3 (1) 1500
8 Inch 70 5/10 4/2 4 5 (1) 2000